Free Week 1 NFL picks and predictions against the spread

What are our free picks and predictions for Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season as all 32 teams look to begin their season with success?

Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season is around the corner, but what are our early free picks and predictions for the full slate of games? We take a whistle-stop through the entire 16-game slate, picking a winner for each game and looking at the various spreads.

Week 1 NFL picks and predictions | Betting lines and odds

There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding Week 1 of the NFL season, making picks and predictions tough. However, that same uncertainty also makes it difficult for the sportsbooks to get their lines in the right spot. Let’s take a look through the latest NFL odds and see if any stand out. All lines are from DraftKings Sportsbook and are correct as of 2 PM ET on August 31.

Thursday night NFL picks and predictions

Here are the Week 1 betting lines and NFL odds for Thursday’s game as of 2 PM ET on August 31.

Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-7.5)

Time and Channel: 8:20 PM ET, NBC

The uncertainty around the Cowboys due to their injuries makes this a challenging game to pick. If Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and La’el Collins can hit the ground running, the Cowboys have the talent to push the Buccaneers.

However, Tampa Bay is an outstanding team. While the Cowboys could get close, winning on the opening day of the season on the road is tough. We have the Buccaneers leaving the contest victorious, but the Cowboys should be within a touchdown.

NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Buccaneers 27, Cowboys 24

Sunday NFL picks and predictions

Here are the NFL Week 1 betting lines and odds for Sunday’s games as of 2 PM ET on August 31.

Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5)

Time and Channel: 1 PM ET, FOX

We really could get anything out of these two teams to open the season. Both have new head coaches and showed us very little of their first-team units in the preseason. The Falcons should have the QB advantage, but their offensive line and defense are significant concerns.

NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Eagles 20, Falcons 17

Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills (-6.5)

Time and Channel: 1 PM ET, CBS

The excitement for this season is all around the Buffalo Bills, but writing off the Steelers is dangerous. When these two teams met late last season, Ben Roethlisberger was struggling, and it showed. A fresher Roethlisberger could lead his team to points. Still, the Bills could exploit the uncertainty around Pittsburgh’s offensive line.

NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Bills 28, Steelers 23

Minnesota Vikings (-3.5) at Cincinnati Bengals

Time and Channel: 1 PM ET, NFL FOX

The Vikings should run out easy winners here, but their defense is a major problem. If the Bengals’ offense can get rolling early, they could put a lot of pressure on the Vikings’ offense to perform under pressure. With the Bengals’ defense being no rollover, this game could be on upset alert.

NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Vikings 23, Bengals 20

San Francisco 49ers (-7) at Detroit Lions

Time and Channel: 1 PM ET, FOX

The situation for the Lions still looks to be somewhat of a mess entering the season. Yet, the 49ers’ offense is hardly settled either. The key will be the Lions’ offensive line and, more specifically, their rookie at RT. If Penei Sewell holds up against the 49ers’ defensive line, the Lions could give them a scare.

NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: 49ers 21, Lions 13

Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans (-3)

Time and Channel: 1 PM ET, CBS

The key here will be whether the Cardinals’ defense can stand up to the physical nature of the Titans’ offense. They have more than enough firepower to win if they can blunt Henry and stop the Titans from dominating time of possession. However, the Titans at home, in an early kickoff, could prove the difference.

NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Titans 21, Cardinals 20

Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) at Indianapolis Colts

Time and Channel: 1 PM ET, FOX

The Seahawks have generally been strong coming across for an early East Coast kickoff, and with uncertainty surrounding the health of Carson Wentz, they have an excellent chance in this one. It is hard to see the Colts winning unless their defense can make it a low-scoring affair.

NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Seahawks 23, Colts 17

Los Angeles Chargers (-1) at Washington Football Team

Time and Channel: 1 PM ET, CBS

This is a fascinating matchup between two very intriguing teams. Both teams have good defenses and fantastic weapons on offense. Will we see the young QB in Justin Herbert win out, or will it be the veteran in Ryan Fitzpatrick? As the latest odds suggest, this one should be very close.

NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Chargers 20, Washington 19

New York Jets at Carolina Panthers (-5.5)

Time and Channel: 1 PM ET, CBS

Sam Darnold back in New York to start his Carolina career is perfect scheduling. Will it be Zach Wilson or Darnold who begins their season in style? The Panthers look better equipped, especially on defense, and should come away with a narrow win.

NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Panthers 17, Jets 13

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Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) at Houston Texans

Time and Channel: 1 PM ET, CBS

This game will tell us a lot about what we can expect from both franchises. If this is a tough-to-watch, low-scoring bout, then it could indicate both teams are set to struggle. However, if the offenses can get rolling, it could suggest neither side will be as bad as many predict.

If it is Trevor Lawrence versus Tyrod Taylor, give me Lawrence to get off to a good start in the NFL.

NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Jaguars 13, Texans 10

Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs (-6)

Time and Channel: 4:25 PM ET, CBS

This is a mouth-watering repeat of last season’s playoffs as the Chiefs host the Browns. The Browns have so much depth on their squad, but they are going to be hard-pressed to defeat a motivated Chiefs team looking to put last year’s Super Bowl behind them.

The deciding element in this game will be how the Chiefs’ offensive line handles Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney. If those two can cause havoc, the Chiefs could find old wounds being reopened.

NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Chiefs 30, Browns 27

Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-2.5)

Time and Channel: 4:25 PM ET, CBS

Brian Flores versus Bill Belichick. Tua Tagovailoa versus Mac Jones. The narratives on this one write themselves. Will the experience of the Patriots’ defense be enough to protect an offense that is a complete question mark? Can Tua and the Dolphins’ offense light up the Patriots in New England?

The uncertainty of Jones suggests that this will be a Dolphins win. Jones is unlikely to run a much different offense to the one run by Tom Brady in New England. Flores should have a good idea of how to stop that.

NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Dolphins 24, Patriots 20

Green Bay Packers (-4.5) at New Orleans Saints

Time and Channel: 4:25 PM ET, Local

This is a hugely emotional game for the Saints, and that makes this one hard to predict. The emotion could spill over into mistakes, or it could make them play above expectations. As of writing, we don’t know where this game will be played, but it seems unlikely it will be in New Orleans.

Thrown into the mix is the disjointed offseason of the Packers. However, Green Bay should have too much talent for a Saints team that had major turnover this offseason.

NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Packers 27, Saints 21

Denver Broncos (-3) at New York Giants

Time and Channel: 4:25 PM ET, FOX

Unfairly, this game could end up being rather left out of the limelight alongside the other three on this slate. The Broncos named Teddy Bridgewater as the starter, and he is the ideal QB for this talented roster. The Giants made some big moves in the offseason, but I’m not sure it leads to anything in Week 1.

NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Broncos 20, Giants 17

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Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams (-7)

Time and Channel: 8:20 PM ET, NBC

The first regular-season game with crowds in SoFi Stadium should be an electric occasion. The Rams will have Matthew Stafford on the field for the first time and will be looking to make a statement to start.

This stage is somewhat set for Justin Fields, but it will likely be Andy Dalton under center. That should probably tell you enough about how this game could end up going.

NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Rams 30, Bears 17

Monday night Week 1 NFL picks and predictions

Here are the NFL Week 1 betting lines and odds for Monday’s game as of 2 PM ET on August 31.

Baltimore Ravens (-4.5) at Las Vegas Raiders

Time and Channel: 8:15 PM ET, ESPN

Following the “opening” of SoFi the night before, Monday will be the turn of Allegiant Stadium. Still, the Raiders will need more than just a partisan crowd against the exploits of Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. The Raiders defense should struggle to stop the Ravens from picking them apart however they want.

NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Ravens 27, Raiders 17

Ben Rolfe is a Senior Managing Editor at Pro Football Network and is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can find him on Twitter @BenRolfePFN.

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